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View Full Version : Dwarven rogue/wizard in Eberron - advice?



Shecky
2010-07-14, 02:08 PM
Okay, for those of you who didn't tune in last year, I'm running a dwarven rogue in an Eberron 3.5 campaign. Due to weirdness in the party makeup (i.e., players making some unusual decisions), the guy who usually plays our caster IS taking caster levels, but essentially just as part of a Jedi build (sorc + paladin) to be a badass self-buffing melee character. He'll be able to do magic in a pinch or if it's known beforehand that magic's gonna be the order of the day, but he won't be fully-leveled - i.e., at 10th level, he'll effectively be only a 5th-level character in terms of magical oomph.

As such, our group is down half a caster, and given the relative inexperience of the two other players (other than myself and the Jedi guy), I'm sorta feeling the push to add in another half a caster. Obviously, with the Int build I went with on my rogue, wizard is the inevitable choice. Now, as much as I'd LIKE to be able to design my wizard levels and spell choices around supporting my roguely abilities and skills, I'm gonna need to supply some party magic as well. Sorta planning on crafting and boomsticking wherever possible to help augment my half-casterhood, too.

What's your advice? Commentary? Questions? Ideas on progression / feat choices / spell selection / etc.? I've got a pretty fair idea of what I intend to do with this, but I want to see unsullied, primordial reactions. Let me know. Anything is welcome short of poo-flinging. :smallbiggrin:

Dusk Eclipse
2010-07-14, 02:15 PM
A Rogue1/Wizard 4/Unseen Seer 10(complete mage) / something x

You get rogue skills, an increase in SA dice full casting progression and some extra divination spells from ANY list. just make the normal wizard spell choices.

Optimystik
2010-07-14, 02:18 PM
Your best choices for "something x" are Arcane Trickster (DMG) and Spellwarp Sniper (CSco.) AT is better for up-close rogueishness, SwS if you like to keep your distance.

PId6
2010-07-14, 02:44 PM
The Unseen Seer build is definitely your best bet. I usually prefer something like Rogue 1/Wizard 5/Unseen Seer 10/Arcane Trickster 4, but Spellwarped Sniper works too. Make sure to take Practiced Spellcaster to make up for the lost CL (from both Rogue 1 and Unseen Seer's Divination Spell Power). Also make sure to be human and tale Able Learner so you can continue with your rogue skills during wizard levels (if you must be dwarf, try to get your DM to allow Able Learner anyway).

You can find more info in my handbook (see sig; check build section for three different possible builds).

Shecky
2010-07-14, 03:05 PM
Wow, do you guys not enforce the XP penalty for unbalanced multiclassing?

dextercorvia
2010-07-14, 03:09 PM
Not usually. But I also tend to be Human or Halfling with a build like that. And, remember PrC's don't count against your multiclassing. If you are worried about it, and want to be a Dwarf focused on Int, try Beguiler from PHB II.

Cyrion
2010-07-14, 03:09 PM
If you're human, there shouldn't be a penalty for multiclassing- PrC's don't count toward that penalty (according to one of the errata), so you just have two base classes which won't hurt your XP. If you go with a dwarf, you are going to take an XP penalty.

Quirp
2010-07-14, 03:11 PM
Wow, do you guys not enforce the XP penalty for unbalanced multiclassing?

I think that rule is only for base classes.

mrcarter11
2010-07-14, 03:11 PM
So.. I thought he was already playing.. And thus couldn't change his pre existing character.. Like race and levels already taken in rogue..

Dusk Eclipse
2010-07-14, 03:13 PM
Not really, it is needleesly punishing concepts, and even more it seems counter-intuitive, many prestige classes need multiclassing to get the pre-requisites so penalizing what it seems is needed makes me :smallconfused:.

PId6
2010-07-14, 03:16 PM
Wow, do you guys not enforce the XP penalty for unbalanced multiclassing?
It's a stupid and utterly pointless rule, so no.

If your DM does, then that's just another reason to go human.

dextercorvia
2010-07-14, 04:02 PM
So.. I thought he was already playing.. And thus couldn't change his pre existing character.. Like race and levels already taken in rogue..

He mentioned that this was an existing campaign, but said he wanted to add "half a caster" I assumed he was changing his build, since you don't just take Rogue 10 and then tack on caster levels, unless you want to suck at both things.

AslanCross
2010-07-14, 04:18 PM
Wow, do you guys not enforce the XP penalty for unbalanced multiclassing?

It's often just not worth the trouble. I think there was a thread here that asked just how many did enforce it, and almost nobody said that they actually enforce it.

Shecky
2010-07-14, 04:34 PM
He mentioned that this was an existing campaign, but said he wanted to add "half a caster" I assumed he was changing his build, since you don't just take Rogue 10 and then tack on caster levels, unless you want to suck at both things.

^ This. Already two levels into it, gamestory means I was already playing a dwarf, talking with the Jedi guy revealed where he was going with his build and we have WoDM (Word of DM) that multiclassing penalties will be in place by the book. Please don't take this the wrong way when I say our group thinks that megamulticlassing is too close to allowing broken, overpowered builds. We're sorta purists and value as much simplicity (e.g., following the rules as written) so that everyone knows exactly what's going on, what's allowable and what isn't. Occasionally, we can ask for a ruling and discuss our reasons for asking, but the whole group decided years ago that once the DM makes a ruling, it doesn't change unless there's compelling, previously unnoticed/unconsidered in-book reason to do so.

In truth, it's no real biggie. This is a gameplay-oriented group, with character build being subordinate to HOW we play our characters. I'll probably end up just staying straight rogue/wizard, because traps, locks and such are strong features of what we consider a good dungeon (hence the rogue part), and it'll be nice to keep the spellcasting classes a bit understrength as we get higher in level so that they don't blow away the melee classes. Might mean a bit of work on the group's AND the DM's part as we get into middle and upper levels, but to us, that's what defines a good game - adapting to circumstances.

Main reason I was asking was to look for thoughts on what might constitute a good feat/skill/etc. selection within that framework to keep my character even with appropriately-leveled obstacles. As I said, I'm intending to do a fair bit of low-level crafting (scrolls to start with, wands as I progress) for purposes of out-of-combat and pre-combat aid. "Simple" is a good guideline for the kind of things we try to do; streamlining gameplay to keep personal involvement high (not precisely roleplay, but good tactical/strategic decision-making) is always a good thing in our books.

dextercorvia
2010-07-14, 04:37 PM
Since you have an existing build, could you post that? We'll work with what you have.

Shecky
2010-07-14, 04:48 PM
Since you have an existing build, could you post that? We'll work with what you have.

Reasonable request. I've got it in HTML, so lemme see if I can get it loaded here.

...

Dagnabbit. Anyone know how the heck to get an HTML document to be viewable online?

Optimystik
2010-07-14, 04:51 PM
It's a stupid and utterly pointless rule, so no.

If your DM does, then that's just another reason to go human.

As if we needed more, amirite? :smalltongue:



Dagnabbit. Anyone know how the heck to get an HTML document to be viewable online?

Can't you just copy and paste the text out of it?

Also, 2 levels of rogue aren't a dealbreaker - just go Wiz 3 and follow Dusk's build from there.

PId6
2010-07-14, 04:57 PM
As if we needed more, amirite? :smalltongue:
Now just give them +2 to a stat (as in PF), and they really will have everything.


Also, 2 levels of rogue aren't a dealbreaker - just go Wiz 3 and follow Dusk's build from there.
I agree with this. Rogue 2/Wizard 3/Unseen Seer 10/Whatever 5 works too, and doesn't incur multiclassing penalties. And it's far far superior to just alternating rogue/wizard.

PapaNachos
2010-07-14, 05:01 PM
Have you looked into Artificer? Just substitute magic items for spells.

Edit: Perhaps you could play up the idea of getting more interested in how locks and such work, given they you spend so much time working with them.

Shecky
2010-07-14, 05:11 PM
As if we needed more, amirite? :smalltongue:
Can't you just copy and paste the text out of it?


Okay, one spectacularly huge mass of text comin' up!


Brakaris d'Kundarak
Rog2 Dwarf, Mountain Neutral

STR 12
DEX 15
CON 12
INT 16
WIS 12
CHA 12

HP 14
AC 16

INITIATIVE + 2

SAVING THROWS
Fortitude 1
Reflex 5
Will 1

Rapier, Masterwork
TOTAL ATTACK BONUS +3
1d6+1 18-20/x2

Shortbow
TOTAL ATTACK BONUS +3
1d6 x3

Club
TOTAL ATTACK BONUS +2
1d6+1 x2


Plated leather, Masterwork
ARMOR BONUS +4


SKILLS (tried to keep this to skills I'd actually taken ranks in; you can figure out how many for yourself ;) )

Bluff 6
Climb 6
Disable Device 10
Hide 7
Jump 0
Listen 6
Move Silently 7
Open Lock 9
Search 8
Spot 6
Use Magic Device 6


EQUIPMENT
Backpack
Rapier, Masterwork
Club
Rope, silk 50 ft.
Shortbow
Arrows (50)
Thieves' tools, Masterwork
Mirror, small steel


LANGUAGES
Dwarven, Terran, Undercommon, Gnome, Orc

FEATS
Simple Weapon Proficiency
Armor Proficiency: light
Combat Expertise





Personal History
Brakaris is a troubleshooter. His clan-within-a-clan, the Montagnards, are a quiet, unassuming branch of the Kundarak clan, holding to the Old Ways and rarely venturing to the surface; the Sun hurts their eyes. But their seeming infirmity masks a strength: they harken back to dwarves of an earlier era, closer to the rock of the earth than more modern dwarves. Their eyesight in the dark of the depths is sharper and they are more durable, like the mountain's stone that they claim first gave birth to their clan. This is partially a conceit, of course - their visual acuity in the dark comes of generations living entire lifetimes in the dim illumination preferred among their families. Still, there is something to the conceit, as they do tend to prove more resilient than do most dwarves when in their beloved element. For this, they are a traditional choice by the Kundarak leadership for "deep, dark work".


The "troubleshooter" is concerned primarily with the security of the Kundarak vaults and archives. This is not the security of weapons and armor, nor of spells and magical wards. This is the security of the mechanism, the lock, the stone that itself guards the deep holds, better than dwarvish strength can do. On the rare occasion that thievery occurs (which it does, although this knowledge is never publicly acknowledged), a troubleshooter is summoned to analyze precisely what failed and how, then to determine how best to prevent that failure in the future. The Montagnard troubleshooters, nearly a hereditary caste, have earned a reputation as the most effective troubleshooters, hence the Kundarak preference for their services. No Kundarak vault or holding has ever been burgled in the same fashion again when a Montagnard was given charge of the failure analysis and remediation. Arms may weaken, spells may be dispelled, but Montagnard-designed, Montagnard-maintained, Montagnard-analyzed and Montagnard-improved security abides.


But there are troubleshooters and troubleshooters. Occasionally, the hidden powers behind House Kundarak feel the need to "research" the security used by other clans and races - for the refinement of the science, of course. And now and then, stolen from by opponents but denied justice or compensation through normal legal channels, the Kundarak back-room governors select promising candidates for more... subtle work. When certain items need to be retrieved, these specialist troubleshooters are called upon for their carefully-shaped skills and their less-than-orthodox methods. And when they are, they feel their honor, for self and for clan, lies in completing the retrieval successfully, by whatever means necessary. It has become a particularly fruitless (and sometimes even perilous) endeavor to take what House Kundarak has declared its own; those who choose such an ill-advised venture often find their own collections and vaults in an even emptier state than before, with no sign of the perpetrator other than rumors of "ghosts in the night".


When a specialist troubleshooter is set to such a task, it is implicit that while the retrieval of the ill-gotten item or items is paramount, their employers choose not to notice if more items than requested disappear from the offender's vault. This comes from their sink-or-swim "education": when first set on their new path, candidates eat and drink only what they can pay for. Even their housing is charged to them. And no candidate is permitted to begin training with even a single copper piece in his possession. This is not a paid-tuition university - it is a school that teaches the very skills that they need in order to be able to survive while attending. An in-house quartermaster pays ridiculously small amounts for "pawned" items, which encourages candidates to find their own sources of ready gold. But the only way to "fail" (other than starving) is to be caught and convicted of a crime of robbery (where most dwarves live by the law, certain elements realize that it is sometimes more feasible to honor the law by never giving it cause to come down on them). No Montagnard chosen to become a troubleshooter specialist has ever dishonored the law in this way, and there has been at least one Montagnard specialist each generation (on the average, there are never more than a dozen or so active specialists at any one time, and new specialist candidates are chosen only at need) since the founding of House Kundarak.


Brakaris has now completed his "coursework" and has now been sent out into the field for "advanced independent study". He is required to present himself at any branch of Bank Kundarak anywhere at least once a month to submit acquisitions and "training journals" for consideration. If materials submitted pass inspection, he is allowed to continue his independent work and will be that much closer to being a full field agent.


The world is unaware of these Ghosts in the Night; whatever their methods, they have succeeded in maintaining themselves undiscovered for what they are, all while enjoying great success in their mission of returning to the House what belongs to the House (and, incidentally, "paying" themselves what they are worth). Brakaris is out to learn everything he can about security, for honor of family and clan... and for self-improvement.

Chopped a lot out of there and heavily edited for readability; otherwise, it was just a big blob of text. And yes, I've been told that this resembles a 4e path, Kundarak Ghorad'din or something like that. Believe me when I say I never even knew about it when I was coming up with this.

(And yes, that's a lot of backstory. There's a lot more; this is just the "official" bio. :D )

Shecky
2010-07-14, 05:12 PM
Have you looked into Artificer? Just substitute magic items for spells.

Edit: Perhaps you could play up the idea of getting more interested in how locks and such work, given they you spend so much time working with them.

Playing an artificer in another campaign; druther not have duplicate characters. :) But good idea anyway.

PapaNachos
2010-07-14, 05:17 PM
Playing an artificer in another campaign; druther not have duplicate characters. :) But good idea anyway.
They're only duplicate if you build them the same way. Artificers can be pretty varied.

Edit: Anyway, just a suggestion that I think would work well.

dextercorvia
2010-07-14, 05:29 PM
If you have already taken Rogue2, then I second what Optimystic said. You'll be plenty powerful as Rogue2/Wiz3/UnseenSeer10/SpellwarpSniper5

Take Practiced Spellcaster (if not at 3 then definitely at 6). I would also recommend Split Ray for double the SA goodness.

Edit: Also, notice you have no Multiclassing Penalties.

Shecky
2010-07-14, 06:42 PM
If you have already taken Rogue2, then I second what Optimystic said. You'll be plenty powerful as Rogue2/Wiz3/UnseenSeer10/SpellwarpSniper4

Take Practiced Spellcaster (if not at 3 then definitely at 6). I would also recommend Split Ray for double the SA goodness.

Edit: Also, notice you have no Multiclassing Penalties.

Yup, that's one of the good things about prestige classes.

Optimystik
2010-07-14, 06:43 PM
Okay, one spectacularly huge mass of text comin' up!


Actually, all we needed to help you were the stats and feats :smalltongue:

Is it too late to change your stats? A higher Con is more useful than a 12 each in Cha and Wis.

Coidzor
2010-07-14, 07:27 PM
Are you going to be a specialist wizard or not?

Or does he not have enough levels flexible to do that focused/master specialist macro in?

Shecky
2010-07-14, 07:40 PM
Actually, all we needed to help you were the stats and feats :smalltongue:

Is it too late to change your stats? A higher Con is more useful than a 12 each in Cha and Wis.

Yep, too late to do that once we all sit down at the table. And yeah, I know it was a freakin' word deluge ;) ; I just wanted to give anyone who was interested a real feel for what I think of when I consider the character. Trap-and-lock god, occasional flanking support and/or going for sneak-attack kill to get 'em off our melee guys' backs, support blaster with some useful spells memorized and others in scrolls and boomsticks. But primarily about doing whatever it takes to get in, get whatever he's after and get out. Retrieval expert, I guess.

Coidzor: I'm already planning to specialize (transmutation, with enchantment and necromancy as my prohibited schools). I don't understand the second question, sorry.

Coidzor
2010-07-14, 07:48 PM
Coidzor: I'm already planning to specialize (transmutation, with enchantment and necromancy as my prohibited schools). I don't understand the second question, sorry.

Well, wizard levels after 1st that aren't the bonus feat levels are useless, especially if your PrCs don't advance your familiar. There's a way to enter a PrC specialist class at 2nd or 3rd level that'd help net you more spells per day, but I don't know if one or two levels of it would be enough to get you the benefit that outweighs taking levels and specializing.

It's supposed to bump up a specialist wizard's spells per day even more, but I'm just completely blanking out now as to what it is.

PapaNachos
2010-07-14, 07:57 PM
Check out the trapsmith prestige class from Dungeonscape. Admittedly its nowhere near a caster class, but you get some spells. While you're there take a look at factotum as well, especially if you think you're going to have to pick up the slack from the rest of the party.

dextercorvia
2010-07-14, 08:33 PM
Well, wizard levels after 1st that aren't the bonus feat levels are useless, especially if your PrCs don't advance your familiar. There's a way to enter a PrC specialist class at 2nd or 3rd level that'd help net you more spells per day, but I don't know if one or two levels of it would be enough to get you the benefit that outweighs taking levels and specializing.

It's supposed to bump up a specialist wizard's spells per day even more, but I'm just completely blanking out now as to what it is.

It sounds like you are mixing up the Master Specialist PrC with the Focused Specialist variant. The FS gives you 1 less regular slot than a standard specialist, but 3 extra specialist slots (instead of the normal 1). So a Focused Transmuter 1 with 16 int would be able to cast 1+3 first level spells.

The Master Specialist is nice, but requires cheese to get into without taking Wiz3 first. I don't think it adds anything to this build, anyway. If he were building from the ground up, he could do something like:

Rogue1/Wiz1/MasterConjuror3/UnseenSeer10/SpellwarpSniper5

Feats:
1:Sanctum Spell
3:Practiced Spellcaster
6:Split Ray
9:Easy Metamagic (Split Ray) or if no Dragon Metamagic School Focus (Conjuration)

That would allow him to Dwarf it out and still avoid Multiclass Penalties.

Shecky
2010-07-14, 09:21 PM
Check out the trapsmith prestige class from Dungeonscape. Admittedly its nowhere near a caster class, but you get some spells. While you're there take a look at factotum as well, especially if you think you're going to have to pick up the slack from the rest of the party.

They're not going to be THAT slack. :smallbiggrin:

But Trapsmith... hmm... that would be tempting if it weren't short on spells. The wizard's Scribe Scroll free feat is something I'm sort of counting on; there's SO much that can be done with that. Still, I'll have to noodle it a little more, weigh out the progression and see what shakes loose. Might be able to get the DM to do some houseruling... (because while he sticks to RAW if we want to go with something entirely covered by the books, he's open to new ideas, especially when there's backstory to bolster it.)

Shecky
2010-07-17, 06:43 PM
Okay, been noodling this a few days. For the foreseeable future, I'm gonna stick with even-up rogue/wizard, which means the next two (or three, haven't decided yet) levels will be in wizard. Probably going with three, as that'll give me level 2 spells soonest. It does mean my skill points are going to be lean for a while, so it's probably good that I maxed out the trap/lock skills on levels 1 and 2. Seeing that we're not going to have a straight-up caster in the group, it's going to be imperative that the two who ARE taking arcane caster multiclass levels take as much as we can afford to take as soon as we can. You CAN sorta replace quality with quantity. :smallbiggrin:

Will talk to our DM before our next session and see if he'll relent on the XP penalty, because there's a lot that can be done to mitigate loss of rogue levels through wizardly stuff. If not, well, I'll do what I can.

Shecky
2010-07-23, 11:49 AM
So, any comments or suggestions on how to make that happen?

Optimystik
2010-07-23, 12:45 PM
Will talk to our DM before our next session and see if he'll relent on the XP penalty, because there's a lot that can be done to mitigate loss of rogue levels through wizardly stuff. If not, well, I'll do what I can.

I'm confused - you're a Rogue 2 right now, about to add 3 levels of Wizard, correct? You won't have any XP penalties to worry about for any of those levels.

Shecky
2010-07-24, 05:36 AM
I'm confused - you're a Rogue 2 right now, about to add 3 levels of Wizard, correct? You won't have any XP penalties to worry about for any of those levels.

Thinking about the future.

Shecky
2010-07-30, 07:28 PM
*more crickets* Well. Okay, maybe some more info to work with:

1) Primarily core. Add the Complete series and the Eberron books. Spell Compendium is just fine.

2) As before, needs a reasonable amount of firepower to make up half of a real caster.

3) Lo and behold, after discussion with the DM, he MAY decide to suspend the XP penalty for non-favored-class multiclassing. But I'm not necessarily counting on it. A balanced progression would certainly keep skill points high, which will be favorite... but the halved speed towards new spell levels pains me.

4) I know this DM. I'm going to want to keep rogue skills (DD, OL and suchlike) as high as possible. 'Cause, y'know, dungeon of OMGTRAP! He believes in the enough-rope philosophy, but his own personal spin is to attach a lot of pointy and smashy things to that rope for his own amusement.

5) More than willing to supplement lack of levels in #2 up there with boomsticking, but DM has stated a desire to keep the availability (both as loot and as purchase/commision) of magic items low - he'll be doing pessimistic rolls to see if something can be bought or made. So whatever I can do to maximize the things I do have would be good. The other half-caster will be working up to Create Magic Arms/Armor and (he says and I dearly hope) Craft Wondrous Item, so it's possible I'll be able to barter with him to get some helpful stuff.

6) I plan to do some low-level crafting to help around the edges. Mainly low-impact, 0th- and 1st-level scrolls, along with the occasional 2nd-level, but with a VERY frugal approach to spending XP. Gonna have to bring my A-game in roleplaying and smartitude for extra XP whenever and wherever possible.

7) As already noted, I'm playing a dwarf - backstory makes it nonnegotiable, and besides, we've already played a session in this campaign. :D He's a d'Kundarak, but that may or may not play a role later. MUCH later. Heir of Siberys would be spiffy but not necessary.

8) Simpler is better. Consistency with character is best. He's a rogue who's getting more and more pissed off at all those nasty magical-type traps and wards that seem to get in the way of honest troubleshooters who just want to get in and out quietly. Not to mention those annoying guards and guardian monsters.

More if I think of it or if you have a question.

faceroll
2010-07-30, 09:18 PM
Feats:
1:Sanctum Spell
3:Practiced Spellcaster
6:Split Ray
9:Easy Metamagic (Split Ray) or if no Dragon Metamagic School Focus (Conjuration)

Sanctum spell requires another metamagic feat as a pre-req, unfortunately.

dextercorvia
2010-07-30, 09:19 PM
So, any comments or suggestions on how to make that happen?

The best way to make this happen is through superior spell selection. Having a RTA spell, even if it is Acid Splash, means you might get a SA you wouldn't have otherwise. Grease and Glitterdust are offensive spells, but they make everybody work better too. Enlarge Person is useful if you have somebody who tanks. Reduce Person is useful for sneaky types like yourself. Wall of Smoke is nice.

Since you are losing caster levels, it will probably be worth it for you to go Focused Specialist. (ACF from CM) I would pick Conjuration. Treantmonk's God Wizard guide has lists of must have spells. Also Solo's Stupendous Sorcerer's guide has good advice on choosing clutch spells. I don't have links handy, I just google them. I'd pick Practiced Spellcaster for your Level 3 feat, since you've already dropped two levels to Rogue. Like was said before, you should definitely go Rogue2/Wiz3/UnseenSeerX. 6 skill points, some sneak attack progression, nabbing Hunter's Eye from the Ranger list all make this too good to pass up.


Sanctum spell requires another metamagic feat as a pre-req, unfortunately.

Good call. I usually don't forget that. Fortunately it was unnecessary.

faceroll
2010-07-30, 09:21 PM
Glitterdust is amazing because the blind effect means you're doing heaps more damage and the enemy is virtually incapacitated.

Shecky
2010-07-30, 10:01 PM
Ah yes, spell selection. Any suggestions for 1) spells to keep actively memorized and 2) stuff to keep around on scrolls are more than welcome. Probably going to want to stay away from Focused Specialist in order to keep the jack-of-all-trades aspect as elevated as possible - use of scrolls and such may come in handy. Dextercorvia, I'll definitely look into those builds. Basically, anything that keeps me contributing at both low and high levels (well, not forgetting mid-level. :D ) is a good thing.

Machiavellian
2010-07-30, 10:20 PM
Ehhhh.... I tend to shy away from wizard for Arcane Rogues. My combo is as follows (using dwarf)

Race: Any Dwarf subspecies without a penalty to CHA (There's a reason)
Class: Spellthief 1/Sorcerer 4/Unseen Seer 10/Arcane Trickster 5
Secret Feat: Master Spellthief

Now, you should never run out of spells. This is because MS stacks your Spellthief fun with your other arcane fun and joy. Voila, arcane rogue who cannot run out of spells.

Edit: And if you are truly sadistic, have your falimiar be either an Alip or a Slaymate. One for the "bad guy spell batteries" and the other for reduced metamagic...

dextercorvia
2010-07-30, 10:44 PM
Ah yes, spell selection. Any suggestions for 1) spells to keep actively memorized and 2) stuff to keep around on scrolls are more than welcome. Probably going to want to stay away from Focused Specialist in order to keep the jack-of-all-trades aspect as elevated as possible - use of scrolls and such may come in handy. Dextercorvia, I'll definitely look into those builds. Basically, anything that keeps me contributing at both low and high levels (well, not forgetting mid-level. :D ) is a good thing.

Don't worry too much about the JoAT. Conjuration can really do just about everything. Just don't ban Transmutation, because that does a few things that Conjuration has trouble with, and is a huge school in its own right. I would ban Evocation, Enchantment, and your choice of Illusion or Necromancy, depending on how Illusion runs at your table. I don't really like scrolls for very much. I might consider a Runestaff from MIC for something situational, like Teleport.

Coidzor
2010-07-30, 10:51 PM
Ehhhh.... I tend to shy away from wizard for Arcane Rogues. My combo is as follows (using dwarf)

Race: Any Dwarf subspecies without a penalty to CHA (There's a reason)
Class: Spellthief 1/Sorcerer 9/Unseen Seer 5/Arcane Trickster 5
Secret Feat: Master Spellthief

Now, you should never run out of spells. This is because MS stacks your Spellthief fun with your other arcane fun and joy. Voila, arcane rogue who cannot run out of spells.

Question. Could you have a pet Allip wis-drain any spontaneous casters into a coma and basically keep them as living spellslot batteries?

Machiavellian
2010-07-30, 10:57 PM
Question. Could you have a pet Allip wis-drain any spontaneous casters into a coma and basically keep them as living spellslot batteries?

If you can have an allip as a familair (possibly through Improved Familair), then yes. And its twisted.... I love it.

Eldariel
2010-07-31, 06:22 AM
If you can have an allip as a familair (possibly through Improved Familair), then yes. And its twisted.... I love it.

There's also Command Undead which lasts a long time and gets you pet Allips in any quantities just fine.

Shecky
2010-07-31, 06:46 AM
Ehhhh.... I tend to shy away from wizard for Arcane Rogues. My combo is as follows (using dwarf)

Race: Any Dwarf subspecies without a penalty to CHA (There's a reason)
Class: Spellthief 1/Sorcerer 9/Unseen Seer 5/Arcane Trickster 5
Secret Feat: Master Spellthief

Now, you should never run out of spells. This is because MS stacks your Spellthief fun with your other arcane fun and joy. Voila, arcane rogue who cannot run out of spells.

Yeah, too late for that. He's already a mountain dwarf and an Int rogue. So Wiz it is.

Eldariel
2010-07-31, 06:49 AM
Ehhhh.... I tend to shy away from wizard for Arcane Rogues. My combo is as follows (using dwarf)

Race: Any Dwarf subspecies without a penalty to CHA (There's a reason)
Class: Spellthief 1/Sorcerer 9/Unseen Seer 5/Arcane Trickster 5
Secret Feat: Master Spellthief

Now, you should never run out of spells. This is because MS stacks your Spellthief fun with your other arcane fun and joy. Voila, arcane rogue who cannot run out of spells.

By the way, Sorc 9/Unseen Seer 5 over Sorc 4/Unseen Seer 10, why?

Shecky
2010-07-31, 06:55 AM
Don't worry too much about the JoAT. Conjuration can really do just about everything. Just don't ban Transmutation, because that does a few things that Conjuration has trouble with, and is a huge school in its own right. I would ban Evocation, Enchantment, and your choice of Illusion or Necromancy, depending on how Illusion runs at your table. I don't really like scrolls for very much. I might consider a Runestaff from MIC for something situational, like Teleport.

Was already planning to specialize in Transmutation; there's too much useful stuff for a roguely sort in there. And remember, the DM is keeping the incidence of magic items purposely low, so I can't count on getting any specific item. Scrolls are primarily for Swiss-Army-knife work the way I'm figuring it, not for in-combat use except in dire emergency, which is why I'm differentiating between on-scroll spells and memorized spells - same reason for getting cure wands for between-combat healing instead of using divine spell slots. Let's face it - nobody wants to waste a spell slot memorizing Tenser's Floating Disc, but sometimes you just need it.

As of right now (barring convincing evidence otherwise), the prohibited schools would be Enchantment and Necromancy.

Arbitrarity
2010-07-31, 07:34 AM
As soon as you get to Rogue 2/Wizard 3 (or whatever you choose for level 5. That maximizes your casting, however), Unseen Seer if possible :smallbiggrin: as mentioned by everyone in the thread. You may have difficulty with skill requirements, but it's:
6 skill points/level.
Advances Sneak Attack. (4d6 over 10 levels)
Full Spellcasting Progression.
Various class features of varying usefulness.
That easily scales you up to level 15, and Arcane Trickster rounds out your remaining levels with more sneak attack and full casting.

Banning Enchantment and Necromancy seems reasonable. You could ban Evocation instead of either, as in the normal "batman" style builds, because it doesn't give THAT much utility, nor power, with your lower caster level.

If you have access to PHB2, you can trade your Familiar for the Abrupt Jaunt feature, as a Conjurer. Int modifier times/day, as an immediate action, teleport 10 feet. This lets you sidestep attacks. If you're a Transmuter, you can instead transform yourself as an immediate action to get a Swim, Climb, or Fly speed equal to your regular speed, again, int modifier/day. Whether that's better than a familiar is... debatable. Abrupt Jaunt, however, tends to be amazing.

Good spells... at first level, at this level?
Grease renders enemies Flatfooted, unless they have ranks in balance (implausible). Free Sneak Attack while they're in the area. This is probably one of your best spells to keep on hand.
Benign Transposition is sometimes useful for escaping and putting the fighter in your place, or other utility.
Lesser Orbs of X let you sneak attack, and do decent D8's. To maximize their power, consider taking Practiced Spellcaster, which improves your caster level (and is even better while taking Unseen Seer). Not amazing, but not exactly terrible either. (2d8+1d6 at third level isn't the best use of a spell slot, but I guess it's decent)
Wall of Smoke provides decent control and vision obscuring, and Nauseates enemies passing through.
Enlarge Person is an amazing buff for any fighter on your team. Reach, bigger damage dice, and strength boost? YES.
Protection from Evil/Law/Chaos/Good is also solid, for immunity to mind control, and deflection bonus to AC.
Silent Image is awesome, as usual. Sky's the limit.

Second level spells net you Glitterdust, which is amazing (Notice a pattern with Conjuration spells?), Web, Cloud of Bewilderment, Alter Self (most abusable spell at that level....), and Quick Potion, which can be quite useful for making buff spells accessible to your party without taking your actions.

dextercorvia
2010-07-31, 07:44 AM
A regular specialist isn't bad, but you are going to lag for spell slots for a while, since you are a couple of levels behind.

Arbitrarity
2010-07-31, 08:03 AM
Hm.
If I were doing this, I'd go...

Dwarven Rogue 2/Focused Conjurer 1 w/Abrupt Jaunt 3/day
Banned Schools: Evocation, Necromancy, Enchantment
STR 12
DEX 15
CON 12
INT 16
WIS 12
CHA 12

Bluff 6
Climb 6
Disable Device 10
Hide 7
Jump -4
Listen 6
Move Silently 7
Open Lock 9
Search 8.5
Sense Motive 5
Spellcraft 8
Spot 6
Use Magic Device 6

Feats:
Combat Expertise (:smallsigh:)
Practiced Spellcaster (Wizard)

Spells/day: 5/4 (3 of each level must be Conjuration) Caster Level 3
0) Ghost Sound, Acid Splash*2, Caltrops, Silent Portal (or Prestidigitation, because it's amazing)
1) Grease, Wall of Smoke, Benign Transposition (or another Grease, or perhaps Lesser Orb of Acid), Silent Image (or Enlarge Person)

Nicely done maxing out most skill points for Unseen Seer already, that makes things slightly easier. Still not quite enough. Ask that your Rogue skills remain treated as class skills, or you'll need more skill points from somewhere :smallannoyed: Also, ask if you can rearrange skills to get 4 ranks in Sense Motive. Alternative options include: Asking to retrain second Rogue level to a level of Wizard, then taking the second level back later, or getting higher Int.
Alternatively, you may have to grab another level of Rogue at level 5, which makes the skill crunch easier, and progresses Sneak Attack, at the cost of yet another level of spellcasting (oww). Around here, we value our spellcaster levels, because we believe them to be quite powerful. Right now, you have the chance to progress as a nearly full spellcaster (18/20 levels), and a nearly full rogue, with 6 skill points/level for half your levels and 8d6 sneak attack.

Machiavellian
2010-07-31, 10:58 AM
By the way, Sorc 9/Unseen Seer 5 over Sorc 4/Unseen Seer 10, why?

ok. must edit.

personally, I want to advance Sorc as far as possible. Either Way, you are essentially Sptf 20/Sorc 19

Mark Hall
2010-07-31, 11:14 AM
Well, I'll echo the "look into Arcane Trickster" suggestion (though, to avoid penalties, you'll need to be a 4/5 rogue/wizard), but I'll also go a little counter to your prevailing suggestion... what about an Artificer, instead of wizard? I'm not huge into the class (in fact, I don't think I've ever actually read it), but it would seem to meet a lot of your requirements. Alternatively, a warlock might be a good idea. It will give you some arcane oomph, and you can fill in with magic items where there's a lack.

Machiavellian
2010-07-31, 12:11 PM
Well, I'll echo the "look into Arcane Trickster" suggestion (though, to avoid penalties, you'll need to be a 4/5 rogue/wizard), but I'll also go a little counter to your prevailing suggestion... what about an Artificer, instead of wizard? I'm not huge into the class (in fact, I don't think I've ever actually read it), but it would seem to meet a lot of your requirements. Alternatively, a warlock might be a good idea. It will give you some arcane oomph, and you can fill in with magic items where there's a lack.

I rarely agree with people on the forums, but Mark, I agree. I actually like this idea, since using Warlock, you can SA somebody from 30ft away. Just needs a ring of blink or something to that effect. Just blast and move. This way, your low HP means jack and your craptacular AC is a moot point.

Shecky
2010-07-31, 10:38 PM
Outstanding feedback, folks. A few more points I failed to bring up but which have bearing on these suggestions:

1) The DM doesn't allow retraining skills or feats unless there was an error of lack of knowledge. We had one character that had maxed out ranks in a particular skill that she simply did not need, and the only reason it had happened was that NONE of us was familiar with what that skill really did (we had rolled the characters up for that campaign as our first foray into 3.5). And that took some serious talking to get him to allow that retraining. As much as we like this DM, he's understandably of the school that "ignorance of the law is no excuse". So that's really a non-starter on changing levels, feats and skills already taken. Which I'm fine with, to be honest - it's a good challenge and our DM respects good play better than good numbers.

2) The spellcaster advice I'm seeing seems to be entirely in the service of roguely talents, and we can't afford that. As has been noted, this party doesn't have a full caster, and the other "half-caster" is primarily taking caster levels to augment his melee ability. So I really need not only to keep rogue talents maxed, but I also need to eke out as much classic caster-ish firepower OOMPH. Eventually, I'll need the blaster aspect of Evocation as well as the lower-profile spellwork. The reduction in caster level for non-Divination spells will be just too costly; as awesome as the boost to Divination spells would be in Unseen Seer would be, it would end up being a handicap to the party unless we talk the DM into running an NPC full caster, which is sort of against our stricture of "one player, one character". It's a four-person party: a full cleric, a full fighter, a sorc/paladin Jedi sort and me. The boom factor will be entirely too lacking for the party's survivability.

3) He's a Dex rogue. Cha is okay but nowhere near enough to justify adding Sorc levels. Yes, I know, initial scores don't mean much down the road, but we've got to GET down that road for that to balance out. And with the likelihood that the multiclassing XP penalty will be enforced (DM said he's considering not enforcing it, but I have to plan for just-in-cases on this), the character would stay just a little more underpowered casting-wise for that much longer.

4) Artificer is out. I'll be playing an artificer/rogue in another Eberron campaign when it starts, and while I know that different builds are not the same character, it'd feel that way to me. Suffice it to say that the story of this character supports levels of wizard much better than levels of artificer. But I'm definitely taking over to that character what I've learned here!

5) Any lack or hole in the build cannot be assumed to be fillable by magic items. As stated before, the DM is designing this campaign to be VERY short on magic items unless the rolls are simply that favorable. So I can't count on items to shore up any weak points in a particular build unless they're very low-level.

6) A friend who's been playing D&D as long as I have pointed something out when I was discussing feat selection with him early on: with every single encounter, there's a strong chance I'll be stuck in melee no matter how hard I try to slip out. And this character's emotional structure is such that he'll be CHOOSING to do a fair amount of melee and in-danger tactical movement and will need to be as capable as a straight rogue of reasonable competence in melee. As such, I'm kind of sold (not completely, but close enough for now) on the idea of Weapon Finesse as my 3rd-level feat. This is not just to give the rapier a chance to hit to deliver SA; I'm seriously considering picking up the whip for 15-foot Trip and maybe even Disarm attempts. Sneaking up and tripping the enemy spellcaster or healer to give myself a chance at some nasty SA damage while he can't do a damn thing is very party-friendly. I mean, hey, the whip's exotic, but it's a melee TOUCH attack. Very tempting.

dextercorvia
2010-07-31, 11:11 PM
You don't need evocation to blast. Orb of X are conjurations, and better than Fireball (Especially for a Rogue, as you can add sneak attack to them). Ditto for Disintegration (Transmutation not Evo).

Practiced Spellcaster takes care of the caster level reduction for non Divination. If you still want to take Weapon Finesse, there is a Wizard ACF, that trades Scribe Scroll for the fighter bonus feat of your choice. I can't remember where it is off the top of my head. I'm thinking either Complete Champion, or Complete Mage. Unless you want your last two levels to be for nothing, you really want a prestige class that will blend your Rogue and Wizard capabilities. Unseen Seer is the better of the two 10 level classes that do that. (More skill points and requires fewer lost levels to get into) If you just go Rogue5/Wizard5, your caster level for everything, not just non divination will be much worse than Rogue2/Wiz3/UnseenSeer5. Now, you don't have to take it, certainly, but I really don't see a lot of other options for your character to be skill monkey and get mostly full casting. Beguiler is the only other thing that comes to mind, and they don't blast (or melee) at all.

Shecky
2010-08-01, 09:19 AM
Wasn't planning to go half-and-half all the way up unless I absolutely had to, which is why I'm here asking this question in the first place. :smallbiggrin:

"Practiced Spellcaster takes care of the caster level reduction for non Divination." Hmm. That's not the way I read the feat. Are you sure? Not arguing, it's just that this reading surprises me and maybe you have access to info that I don't.

"Orb of X are conjurations, and better than Fireball (Especially for a Rogue, as you can add sneak attack to them)." Wow, you can add SA to a spell? I... had never considered that. Is this supported in text? Because I'd LOVE to show that to my DM when the time comes. *evil cackling* Anyway, Evocation gives a much broader range of blasting than limiting to Conjuration; again, I'm probably a bit too hung up on the jack-of-all-trades aspect, but there it is - whatever we're facing, whatever its resistances/immunities/etc., I'd like to be able to hit it with SOMETHING that either hurts it or ruins its day. ;)

All in all, if we can get past the lower-caster-level for non-Divination domains, Unseen Seer is definitely the way to go. Good caster progression, adequate skill points (I'm a bit peeved that OL, DD and UMD aren't on the class skill list, though) and reasonable SA progression.

PId6
2010-08-01, 10:19 AM
Hmm. That's not the way I read the feat. Are you sure? Not arguing, it's just that this reading surprises me and maybe you have access to info that I don't.
You always apply bonuses in the most beneficial order. In this case, you take the penalty from Divination Spell Power, then add the +4 from Practiced Spellcaster. Since your final caster level after Practiced Spellcaster is at or below your hit dice, you've satisfied its requirements.


Wow, you can add SA to a spell? I... had never considered that. Is this supported in text? Because I'd LOVE to show that to my DM when the time comes. *evil cackling*
Look up "weapon-like spells" on Complete Arcane, p. 86.


Anyway, Evocation gives a much broader range of blasting than limiting to Conjuration; again, I'm probably a bit too hung up on the jack-of-all-trades aspect, but there it is - whatever we're facing, whatever its resistances/immunities/etc., I'd like to be able to hit it with SOMETHING that either hurts it or ruins its day.
Generally, blasting is just a very inefficient use of resources, and Evocation is even worse at this than other schools, despite it being its specialty.

Consider how Delayed Blast Fireball, a 7th level spell, deals 15d6 fire damage at 15th level. It hits in an area, but allows Reflex saves for half, and is ruined if your opponent has spell resistance. Its average damage is 26.25 if they save (or even less with Evasion), or 52.5 if they don't.

Now consider how Orb of Fire, a 4th level spell, deals 15d6 fire damage at 15th level. On a Rogue 1/Wizard 4/Unseen Seer 10 with Practiced Spellcaster and Hunter's Eye, that becomes 26d6 fire damage thanks to the +11d6 Sneak Attack he has. It doesn't allow a save for half, doesn't allow spell resistance, and even gives a chance for your opponent to be dazed for 1 round (fantastic rider effect). With Sneak Attack, it has an average damage of 91, and still deals 52.5 even if the enemy's immune to Sneak Attacks. It doesn't hit in an area, but you're much better off killing a single enemy quickly than dealing moderate damage to multiple ones slowly (since a dead enemy doesn't hit you back, while a damaged one isn't hindered at all).

So really, you don't need Evocation to blast well. Just prepare some Orbs of Fire, Orbs of Acid (for fire immunes), and Orbs of Force (for incorporeals and fire/acid immunes), and you'll be able to hit anything for massive damage, no save, no SR. There's nothing Evocation can offer you that would top this.

Shecky
2010-08-01, 11:20 AM
You always apply bonuses in the most beneficial order. In this case, you take the penalty from Divination Spell Power, then add the +4 from Practiced Spellcaster. Since your final caster level after Practiced Spellcaster is at or below your hit dice, you've satisfied its requirements.

Hmm. I can't say I agree wholeheartedly with this, as PS applies to the class' overall level and doesn't seem to apply individually to domains. But I will bounce this off my DM and see what he says.



Look up "weapon-like spells" on Complete Arcane, p. 86.


Generally, blasting is just a very inefficient use of resources, and Evocation is even worse at this than other schools, despite it being its specialty.

Consider how Delayed Blast Fireball, a 7th level spell, deals 15d6 fire damage at 15th level. It hits in an area, but allows Reflex saves for half, and is ruined if your opponent has spell resistance. Its average damage is 26.25 if they save (or even less with Evasion), or 52.5 if they don't.

Now consider how Orb of Fire, a 4th level spell, deals 15d6 fire damage at 15th level. On a Rogue 1/Wizard 4/Unseen Seer 10 with Practiced Spellcaster and Hunter's Eye, that becomes 26d6 fire damage thanks to the +11d6 Sneak Attack he has. It doesn't allow a save for half, doesn't allow spell resistance, and even gives a chance for your opponent to be dazed for 1 round (fantastic rider effect). With Sneak Attack, it has an average damage of 91, and still deals 52.5 even if the enemy's immune to Sneak Attacks. It doesn't hit in an area, but you're much better off killing a single enemy quickly than dealing moderate damage to multiple ones slowly (since a dead enemy doesn't hit you back, while a damaged one isn't hindered at all).

So really, you don't need Evocation to blast well. Just prepare some Orbs of Fire, Orbs of Acid (for fire immunes), and Orbs of Force (for incorporeals and fire/acid immunes), and you'll be able to hit anything for massive damage, no save, no SR. There's nothing Evocation can offer you that would top this.

I'll... consider this further. I loathe the idea of minimaxing or "optimization" without penalties, which is what some of these uber-specialized builds smell like to me sometimes, but this whole concept does seem to capture both the bonuses from a highly-specialized character and the penalties that should naturally follow. I just really don't like the idea of such a relatively narrow focus, but I guess I'll have to get used to it if I want a character that can do all those things (roguely duties, moderate melee and blasting). It's just been so long since I've played a character that didn't try to be a generalist within his class.

Eldariel
2010-08-01, 02:05 PM
Hmm. I can't say I agree wholeheartedly with this, as PS applies to the class' overall level and doesn't seem to apply individually to domains. But I will bounce this off my DM and see what he says.

Well, the general rule is that you calculate the Caster Level of each effect separately. Whenever you cast a non-Divination spell, DSP drops your Caster Level. Then you apply bonuses, Practiced Spellcaster notices it's under your HD and raises it. It's...really quite intuitive for one manner of thinking; that is, treating all bonuses as equivalent.

There's no real precedent for specificness of bonuses (applying only to certain schools, certain spells or so) affecting the order of applying things in D&D so it should follow the general rule.


I'll... consider this further. I loathe the idea of minimaxing or "optimization" without penalties, which is what some of these uber-specialized builds smell like to me sometimes, but this whole concept does seem to capture both the bonuses from a highly-specialized character and the penalties that should naturally follow. I just really don't like the idea of such a relatively narrow focus, but I guess I'll have to get used to it if I want a character that can do all those things (roguely duties, moderate melee and blasting). It's just been so long since I've played a character that didn't try to be a generalist within his class.

Given you'll have 19th level Wizard-casting (if going Rogue 1/Wiz 4/Unseen Seer 10/X 5), you'll be able to cover the arcanist's general job like area control, attacking enemies' saves and so on with just your spell list. Things like Glitterdust/Web/Grease/Enlarge Person do that early on (and last throughout your career), while your Sleeps & Color Sprays give you knockout tools for the first levels. Then you eventually level to Solid Fogs, Stinking Clouds, Baleful Polymorphs and so on.

This means you'll be able to:
- Augment your Rogue talents (to an incredible degree, especially with Unseen Seer buying you some non-Wizard spells: Suggest Hunter's Eye [PHBII] (adds CasterLevel/3 d6 Sneak Attack) & Divine Insight [SC] (+15 to one skill check during its duration); you of course have Greater Invisibilities, Teleports and company too)
- Boost your teammates (Greater Magic Weapon, Heroism, etc.)
- "Handle" social scenarios (Charms, Dominates, Alter Selfs, etc. can expand your toolbox hugely)
- Control combat, attack enemies' weak saves and overall, make encounters easier
- Deal damage

That all comes from just having Wizard-casting. And it can do all that at once while also gathering information, providing you with wards and so on. So...you'll be fine.

Shecky
2010-08-01, 02:23 PM
With the sole caveat that I already have 2 levels of rogue in play... I think I'm sold. If story demands it, I may slide in Heir of Siberys (Kundarak/Warding), but that'll be an afterthought at this point. I'll run this through some tests in eTools, but I believe it's all over but the details now.

Unless someone has a different idea that's worth looking at, with the aforementioned restrictions in mind? It'll have to be seriously kickass for me to step off of this, though. :)

Shecky
2010-08-01, 02:53 PM
SONUVA-

... freakin' eTools, for the first time, didn't have a book's dataset. Missing Complete Mage - which, of course, has Unseen Seer. :smallfurious: